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October 23, 2016

First half observations: Eagles 11, Vikings 3

Eagles NFL

With the Giants' sloppy win in ol' London Town this morning, the Eagles would move into last place in the surprisingly decent NFC East with a loss at The Linc against Sam Bradford and the undefeated Minnesota Vikings. So, uh, this one is kind of important.

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In what was billed as a matchup between two above-average NFC teams, we saw the sloppiest half of football that one could possibly imagine. The hits just keep on coming for the NFL, as the Eagles and Vikings put together a five-turnover first quarter.

Somehow, the Eagles lead 11-3 at the half. Here's what I saw:

The good

•  The defense bailed the offense out, in a big way.

Carson Wentz threw the first bad interception of his career on the Eagles second possession, but Andrew Sendejo wasn't able to get in the end zone. That was a bad move, because a Vikings false start made Bradford throw from the seven-yard line on third down. Sleeves tossed his first interception of the season into the waiting arms of Rodney McLeod (who would also force a  Bradord fumble later in the half):

Then after another bad Eagles turnover, Connor Barwin (who didn't have the easiest week) forced a Bradford fumble that Malcolm Jenkins scooped up. After not showing up in Washington, Jim Schwartz's crew saved the Birds:

• Huff Daddy:

A couple of comments on that return: 1. I'm not sure there has ever been a bigger lane for a kickoff returner to run through. 2. Thanks for playing, Blair Walsh.

• Even with a mightily struggling offense, Doug Pederson stayed extremely aggressive. The Eagles went for a two-point conversion and a fourth down in the middle of the field, converting both.

The bad

• Another bad start for Big V. Halapoulivaati Vaitai had a false start on the second play of the game, and the Eagles went three and out largely because of it.

By the way, I do feel badly for Vaitai in that he is being placed in a position that the Eagles in no way, shape, or form were anticipating. More than anything, Big V's struggles are on Lane Johnson.

• Bradford is still all about that #ShortOfTheSticks life, it seems.

The ugly

• Wentz had a disastrous first half, turning the ball over three times. One was a case of sloppy ball handling on a botched handoff to Darren Sproles, but the two interceptions were far more worrisome:

This was a really poor performance by the rookie, who finished 9-20 for 53 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions.

• The good news for Wentz? Sam Bradford was just as bad. Sleevie finished 10-22 for 93 yards with no touchdowns, one pick, and two fumbles.

Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann